While still a budding movement and not nearly ready for prime time, cellular agriculture and science-based food continue to gain momentum. Think of a world with beef and milk without starting with the whole cow, or eggs and poultry that are not derived from exterminating a whole hen or chicken but are instead scientifically cultured from their cells.
Cellular Agriculture Defined
The production of agricultural products using live animal tissues and cell cultures within a laboratory. Products harvested from cell cultures are exactly the same as those harvested from an animal or plant; the only difference is how they are made.
The overwhelming majority (81 percent) of consumers believe science can have a positive impact on food.
Roughly half of consumers believe cellular agriculture can reduce global hunger (54 percent), improve animal welfare (51 percent), lessen environmental impact (49 percent), reduce costs associated with livestock production (48 percent), and improve sustainability (47 percent).
A small percentage of consumers believe that plant-based dairy (16 percent) and burger alternatives (14 percent) can taste just as good as the real thing, and rank the taste of those items above alternatives to eggs, butter, yogurt and other foods.
Slightly more than half (52 percent) of Gen Z consumers are willing to pay more for plant-based burger alternatives.
First Cell-Based Foods
Ground beef and burgers are some of the first cell-based foods currently being created by scientists using cellular agriculture. Common foods already made this way include rennet (used in cheesemaking), vanillin and egg whites. Some consider animal insulin as the first cellular agriculture product, discovered by Frederick Banting and Charles and James Collip, who in 1922 treated the first diabetic patient with an insulin injection.
Familiarity with Cellular Agriculture
Consumers are still learning about cellular agriculture, only 10 percent of consumers report they are familiar with the concept, according to a Datassential survey. Looking at different subgroups of consumers, tech enthusiasts rank as the largest group interested in cellular advancement.
Casual-dining restaurants are the top potential spot for cellular agriculture products over other operations.